An excellent investment

Ransomware! It is a terrible virus that will cost you a LOT of money and, on top of that, destroy all your data, including pictures, music and videos.

Too often people bring their computer in to the Essential IT Solutions technical centre to request removal of ransomware. Here is the truth: often it cannot be removed unless you pay the hijacker thousands of Rands… and then the release of your data is not even guaranteed.

It saddens us to witness the results of these virus attacks. In particular, it saddens us deeply that after removing viruses from computers, laptops and networks that the advice on virus prevention is not always heeded, resulting in the obvious.

Protecting the data on your network, computer, laptop or smartphone actually is easy –

  1. Keep your operating system up to date.
  2. Get a good anti-virus programme and keep it up to date.
  3. Log out after online banking, checking email or visiting Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  4. Do not open files unless they have been scanned by your anti-virus programme.

And always BACK UP your data, either on a separate hard drive, USB flash drive, or on services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc. For corporate clients, we suggest the award-winning, super-easy-to-use Infrascale Data Protection Cloud service.

How ransomware works

Here is a quick explanation by anti-virus experts WordFence

Ransomware is malicious software that an attacker installs on your computer or on your server. They use an exploit to gain access to your system, and then the ransomware executes, usually automatically.

Ransomware encrypts all your files using strong unbreakable encryption. The attackers then ask you to pay them to decrypt your files.

In 2017, 100 new ransomware variants were released into the wild, and there was a 36% year-over-year increase in ransomware attacks worldwide. The average ransomware demand increased 266% to an average of $1077 (R13,940.00) per victim.

How ransomware gets onto a computer

The simple answer: easier than you might have thought. Kaspersky Lab explains that the most common ways in which Ransomware Trojans are installed are:

  • Via phishing emails
  • As a result of visiting a website that contains a malicious program

Ransomware is sophisticated

Bitdefender – whose software we highly recommendpoints out that modern ransomware and phishing evade traditional endpoint security tools:

Sophisticated threats such as file-less attacks, modern ransomware and phishing evade traditional endpoint security tools.

To fortify your endpoints, you need a layered defense approach with unified prevention, multi-stage detection and automated response, in a single integrated platform.

Bitdefender’s layered next-gen endpoint protection platform (NG EPP) protects against the full spectrum of sophisticated cyber threats with speed, accuracy, low administrative overhead and minimal system impact.

Don’t get fooled!

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! Don’t get fooled by pretty pictures and empty promises. When you download ANYTHING from the Internet, scan it immediately with your anti-virus programme. Or, better still, invest (R299 and up) in 24/7 anti-virus protection that could save you thousands.

If you’re using AVG Free, consider upgrading to the Premium version. Or consider the Kaspersky or Bitdefender software offered in the Security and Virus Protection category.

For more information on virus and ransomware protection, virus removal, manual and/or automated backup and failover services, do not hesitate to contact us or call us on 021 853 4790.  We’ll gladly assist.

Date: 04 Sep 2017